SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The only low-cost medical and dental clinic in Bedford County is in danger of running out of money.
The Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County, Inc. provides services to low-income and uninsured residents in Bedford County for $25. It is staffed with students from Meharry Medical College. The clinic has become so popular, it is struggling to keep up with the growing demand. There is currently a waitlist of over 200 people.
Executive Director Fredia Lusk says the dental clinic opened in 2021 thanks to $250,000 in donations. The clinic is funded primarily with donations from the Smile 180 Foundation of Delta Dental of Tennessee and grants.
Bedford County provides free rent, maintenance, wifi and utilities for the building, which is valued at $30,000 a year. Now the clinic is asking the Shelbyville City Council for the same amount of financial help.
“It would mean we could be open and not have to worry about having to balance the budget,” said Lusk.
The Shelbyville City Council is expected to discuss and possibly vote on the money at their regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13.
Lusk said without the clinic, residents in Bedford County would have to drive to Columbia or Murfreesboro for similar services.
Shelbyville resident Mark Potts turned to the clinic for dental extractions when he encountered some difficult financial times.
“We all hit a bump in the road or a pothole,” said Potts. “I hit the pothole, and I needed some dental work done. Luckily, they had just started the dental clinic.”
Potts was one of the first patients at the clinic and has returned for other services. He said it is an important resource for the community and wants others to be able to benefit from it, as well.
“It’s been a real blessing,” said Potts.
“We have a lot of patients that cry, and thank us,” said Marlene Rogers a medical and dental intern at the clinic. “It warms our hearts knowing we have done something for them.”
For more information on operating hours, services and appointments at the Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County, Inc, visit: http://www.shelbyvilleclinic.org/
Donations can be mailed to the clinic at 200 Dover Street, Suite 203, Shelbyville, TN 37160